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We spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. So the air we breathe inside is hugely important. Unfortunately, enclosed spaces are where pollutants stockpile. Cleaning products and contaminants from pets and plants can lead to pollutant buildup. Air purifiers combat these invisible threats (as do proper ventilation and correctly storing indoor chemicals). But many filters can’t catch volatile organic compounds. Meanwhile, captured compounds can escape filters and recirculate.

Enter Molekule: a 23-inch-tall, app-controlled air purifier whose makers say it delivers air that is cleaner than any other purifier. Instead of trapping pollutants, Molekule destroys them—purifying a 600-square-foot room in an hour. The driving force is photoelectrochemical oxidation: using light to trigger a chemical reaction producing hydroxyl free radicals—the same compound that kills cancer cells in radiation therapy. The radicals break down molecular bonds, reducing particles to harmless elements.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2016 issue of Popular Science.

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